QUARQ SHOCKWIZ SUSPENSION CALIBRATOR
Having trouble with your suspension settings? This incredibly clever tool could help you – for a price.
THE MORE DATA IT GETS, THE BETTER ITS ADVICE IS, AND WE FOUND THAT AT LEAST 30 MIN OF SOLID RIDING GAVE THE BEST RESULT.
RRP $529 (sample online price, Australian retailer) WEIGHT 45g (head unit only) INFO quarq.com TESTED BY Tim Robson
DATA acquisition is an engineer’s best friend, especially when it comes to setting up a suspension system. Getting that data from, say, a car is pretty easy, but for a bike, it’s a tougher proposition.
And it’s worth considering that when a bike costs the better part of five or six grand, it makes sense to try and get the best performance possible from it.
A young Aussie engineer has come up with worldbeating technology that can help to quickly and efficiently set your single or dual suspension bike up with optimum settings in a fraction of the time it used to take.
Nigel Wade is a young mechanical engineer from Western Australia, whose idea for a data reader has gone from a successful Kickstarter campaign to being picked up by American company Quarq, which in turn is part of the SRAM empire. He’s now a full time employee of SRAM, and he still lives in Perth (look up Dusty Dynamics on Facebook to see more).
His ShockWiz device is a suspension measuring tool that measures suspension behaviour of air-sprung forks and shocks, sending that data via Bluetooth to a phone app that can suggest ways of tweaking settings to make the suspension work more efficiently for a given application.
For example, the app can be configured to offer advice for a soft, a balanced, or an aggressive tune, with suggestions for air pressure, rebound speed and even the internal spring curve of the suspension part.
The ShockWiz is zip tied to the bike and the unit attaches via an air hose. The more data it gets, the better its advice is, and we found that at least of 30min of solid riding gave the best result. An easy to decipher app then offers advice on which way to tune the fork or shock.
We tested the ShockWiz on a X-Fusion Sweep fork under our 15-year-old speedster Max at a recent event at Thredbo. Starting with the factory settings of 60PSI of air pressure and mid-way settings on all other settings like rebound and compression, it took two runs down the same trail to provide a full read of data.
Suggestions were actually minimal, which tells us a lot of suspension ills can be cured straight off the bat via correct spring sag settings (generally, suspension should ‘sag’ when the rider is on the bike, and no more than 15 to 20 per cent of total travel should be used up as sag. Adding or subtracting air pressure from the air spring controls this). We sped up the rebound rate (the speed at which the fork extends back from being compressed) and slowed down compression a tiny bit, and Max declared himself happy with the result.
It also worked well with a burlier version of the X Fusion fork called the Metric, although we lacked the parts to fully tune the fork as the ShockWiz suggested.
Downsides? The ShockWiz does need to be calibrated every time it’s attached to a new device. It’s not at all hard, but is a bit time consuming. As well, you’ll need to make sure that your fork or shock is compatible with the ShockWiz. It won’t work on coil spring units, for example, or a handful of airsprung forks that use a dual-air spring (there aren’t too many of those, though). We also had a bear of a time making the Android version of the app work with the ShockWiz, though the iPhone version hooked straight in.
Granted, this is high-end stuff for most average users, and the physical cost of the unit will restrict its use to bike shops and the like. However, if you have, say five suspension units in your garage (two duallies and a hardtail), or a circle of mates who are also keen to improve the performance of their big dollar rigs, then the ShockWiz is a great addition to your tool box.
The Shockwiz monitors the fork's air pressure via a direct connection (top) and sends data via Bluetooth to an app on the iPhone (above).